Women's Football

Raith Rovers women's team to disassociate from club after David Goodwillie signing

Ali Rampling
Raith Rovers women's team are planning to disassociate themselves from the club following the signing of David Goodwillie
Raith Rovers women's team are planning to disassociate themselves from the club following the signing of David Goodwillie / Christian Cooksey/GettyImages

The Raith Rovers women's team are planning to completely disassociate themselves from the club - including the removal of the club badge from their shirts and holding discussions into changing their name - following the signing of David Goodwillie.

Goodwillie was found to have raped a woman and ordered to pay damages in a 2017 civil court case.

The signing was met with fierce criticism from fans and sexual violence campaigners. Author Val McDermid withdrew her support and sponsorship of Raith Rovers and captain of the women's team, Tyler Rattray, quit the club after a decade of service.

The stances of both McDermid and Rattray were praised by Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon.

McDermid - a lifelong Raith Rovers supporter and current shirt sponsor - has revealed that the women's team have held discussions and are planning to break away from the club as they do not wish to be associated with them and Goodwillie.

"I've pivoted towards the women and girls' teams, and my position now is to support them into rebuilding their confidence and trust in themselves.," McDermid told BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour. "They had a meeting last night and the upshot of that is they want to completely distance themselves from Raith Rovers Football Club.

"They're currently as we speak having new shirts printed that don't have the Raith Rovers crest on them. They're committed to playing their fixture on Sunday not at Stark's Park, the Raith Rovers ground, but at another ground in the town.

"They're talking about changing the name of the club - that will obviously be something we'll have to discuss with Scottish Women's Football - but they are adamant they no longer want to be associated with Raith Rovers."

Raith Rovers confirmed the signing of Goodwillie from Clyde on Monday evening and released a statement the following day in response to the criticism to justify their decision.

"As David has previously played for Raith Rovers earlier in his career, we consider him to be part of Raith Rovers Football Club," the statement read. "The management team is familiar with David’s career and background and – in particular – his footballing ability. That is our foremost consideration, and we believe that he will strengthen the Raith Rovers playing squad."

McDermid was unimpressed by the club's response, adding that a player's character should be vital when deciding whether or not to sign them due to the example it sets to wider members of the community.

"I think it's possibly one of the worst press statements I've ever seen in my life," McDermid added. "They spent all day putting that together and that's what they came out with? It's insane to say the footballing decision should be the most important thing.

"It was quite clear to me that Rovers shouldn't have signed someone who has been convicted of rape in a civil court and who has never demonstrated a moment's regret or responsibility for what he did. It sets a terrible example for what is supposed to be a community club."